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Wisconsin Energy Institute


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May 26, 2015

Energy researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are excited about the upcoming installation of three high-performance motor dynamometers in the high-bay lab of the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) and in UW’s Engineering Hall. Dynamometers, or “dynos”, are devices used to measure the torque, speed, and power produced by rotating electric machines.

A gift from General Motors (GM), the dynos were partially disassembled in Torrance, Cal., tightly packed into a 53-foot moving truck, and delivered to Madison mid-May. Installation of the WEI dyno is currently ongoing.

biodegradable chips

May 26, 2015

Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers' pursuit of the next best electronic gadget.

In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.

May 21, 2015

A Ford F-150 pickup truck doesn’t exactly scream “tree hugger.” Yet researchers at UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Energy Institute have turned one into a billboard for sustainable and renewable energy.

The Pure Electric Research Vehicle runs on electricity requiring 108 battery cells. It can travel 50 to 60 miles without having to recharge, and it’s logged over 4,000 miles since its conversion from gasoline.

Evan Petkov

May 15, 2015

Evan Petkov sits at a metal table in front of the Wisconsin Energy Institute, completely relaxed. He’s graduating in a week, but the environmental sciences and economics major is remembering a trip he recently took to Southeast Asia. Riding a motorcycle across Vietnam and Laos with a friend, Petkov made note of the complex challenges facing developing countries. “They have traditional farming methods and communities,” he says, “yet there’s an incredible need for these cultures to devise an infrastructure that provides sustainable sources of energy as their development accelerates.”

Chris Todd Hittinger

April 22, 2015

At a research university, faculty are expected to actively engage in producing and publishing research results. And most faculty are expected to raise the money needed to support their work by writing proposals to federal agencies, foundations and private industry.

Here's how it works. Just down the street from my office in Madison is the Hittinger Lab. In this lab, Assistant Professor Chris Hittinger, a geneticist and Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, leads a team of researchers, graduate students and undergraduates working to discover new strains of yeast.

WESC Winners

April 21, 2015

Madison, WI – An energy-efficient industrial mixer and a reusable to-go box won top honors at the Wisconsin Energy and Sustainability Challenge, hosted for its third year by the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Held during the Earth Day conference at the Monona Terrace on April 20, 2015 the challenge pitted ten student teams in competition to design innovative approaches to energy-related technology and global stewardship, with $13,000 in total prize money awarded.

April 20, 2015

Scientists today demonstrated the potential for softwoods to process more easily into pulp and paper if engineered to incorporate a key feature of hardwoods. The finding, published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could improve the economics of the pulp, paper and biofuels industries and reduce those industries’ environmental impact.

Battery Transformation

April 20, 2015

Potentially improving the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, University of Wisconsin–Madison and Brookhaven National Lab researchers have developed a novel X-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride. 

April 14, 2015

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary for Science Franklin “Lynn” Orr visited the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 to learn more about the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s energy research and to do a “deep dive” into the research of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC).

Housed within WEI, GLBRC is a DOE-funded research center focused on performing the basic research that generates technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other advanced biofuels.

Ankur Desai

April 02, 2015

When is a wetland a sink and when is a wetland a source?

That is the question an international team of researchers set out to answer in a new study published online March 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ankur Desai, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is one of just a few American scientists involved.